Landscape Irrigation 2020 Letter from City Engineer, Mike Bailey

Strict Guidelines for Landscape Irrigation

SFWMD Issues Strict Guidelines for Landscape Irrigation Amid Drier Conditions

Following irrigation guidelines will conserve water and protect South Florida’s water resources during the region’s dry season

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) today issued an order on water conservation measures with strict guidelines to property owners to follow irrigation schedules that conserve water amid drier than average conditions.

The District has lawn watering restrictions all year. Amid recent dry conditions, property owners should take additional measures to conserve water including:

  • Water lawns only two days per week between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

  • Apply no more than 3/4-inch to 1 inch of water per week on their lawns and landscapes and only as needed to supplement rainfall.

The Order states that plants may be watered using low volume irrigation, micro-irrigation, low volume hand watering methods, and rain barrels, cisterns, or other similar rain harvesting devices without regard to the watering days or times. It also does not limit irrigation when using treated reclaimed water.

Rainfall has been approximately 6.5 inches below average from November of 2019 to March of this year, groundwater levels are decreasing Districtwide and the U.S. Drought Monitor lists all of South Florida as experiencing at least "Moderate Drought" conditions with portions of Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade counties and the Lower East Coast being classified as "Abnormally Dry."

The District reminds residents that hand washing uses very little water, and residents are encouraged to continue frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) according to CDC guidelines. The order does not in any way restrict residents from following those CDC guidelines.

 Residents can also conserve water by following SFWMD’s simple water conservation tips. Tips to conserve water include:

  •  Ensuring rain sensors are operating properly. Irrigating during or after significant rainfall is a major cause of outdoor water waste and can cost you money. 

  • Replacing aerators in kitchen and bathroom sinks with models rated for 1.5 gallons per minute or less.

  • Switching to WaterSense labeled products including indoor showerheads, bathroom facets and toilets to save hundreds of gallons of water a week.

  • Implement Florida-Friendly landscaping and principles by using low maintenance plants and environmentally sustainable practices.

  • Consider updating appliances like dishwashers and washing machines to Energy Star rated products.

  • Using the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent press wash cycles use more water.

  • Thawing frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.

  • Scraping your dishes before loading in the dishwasher without rinsing.

  • Installing high-efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets.

Read SFWMD’s Order on Landscape Irrigation Conservation Measures Amid Dry Conditions.